Act II - Act II, Scene X

[To them] TATTLE and MISS PRUE.

MISS. Mother, mother, mother, look you here!

MRS FORE. Fie, fie, Miss, how you bawl! Besides, I have told you, you must not call me mother.

MISS. What must I call you then, are you not my father's wife?

MRS FORE. Madam; you must say madam. By my soul, I shall fancy myself old indeed to have this great girl call me mother. Well, but Miss, what are you so overjoyed at?

MISS. Look you here, madam, then, what Mr Tattle has given me. Look you here, cousin, here's a snuff-box; nay, there's snuff in't. Here, will you have any? Oh, good! How sweet it is. Mr Tattle is all over sweet, his peruke is sweet, and his gloves are sweet, and his handkerchief is sweet, pure sweet, sweeter than roses. Smell him, mother--madam, I mean. He gave me this ring for a kiss.

TATT. O fie, Miss, you must not kiss and tell.

MISS. Yes; I may tell my mother. And he says he'll give me something to make me smell so. Oh, pray lend me your handkerchief. Smell, cousin; he says he'll give me something that will make my smocks smell this way. Is not it pure? It's better than lavender, mun. I'm resolved I won't let nurse put any more lavender among my smocks--ha, cousin?

MRS FRAIL. Fie, Miss; amongst your linen, you must say. You must never say smock.

MISS. Why, it is not bawdy, is it, cousin?

TATT. Oh, madam; you are too severe upon Miss; you must not find fault with her pretty simplicity: it becomes her strangely. Pretty Miss, don't let 'em persuade you out of your innocency.

MRS FORE. Oh, demm you toad. I wish you don't persuade her out of her innocency.

TATT. Who, I, madam? O Lord, how can your ladyship have such a thought? Sure, you don't know me.

MRS FRAIL. Ah devil, sly devil. He's as close, sister, as a confessor. He thinks we don't observe him.

MRS FORE. A cunning cur, how soon he could find out a fresh, harmless creature; and left us, sister, presently.

TATT. Upon reputation

MRS FORE. They're all so, sister, these men. They love to have the spoiling of a young thing, they are as fond of it, as of being first in the fashion, or of seeing a new play the first day. I warrant it would break Mr Tattle's heart to think that anybody else should be beforehand with him.

TATT. O Lord, I swear I would not for the world -

MRS FRAIL. O hang you; who'll believe you? You'd be hanged before you'd confess. We know you--she's very pretty! Lord, what pure red and white!--she looks so wholesome; ne'er stir: I don't know, but I fancy, if I were a man -

MISS. How you love to jeer one, cousin.

MRS FORE. Hark'ee, sister, by my soul the girl is spoiled already. D'ee think she'll ever endure a great lubberly tarpaulin? Gad, I warrant you she won't let him come near her after Mr Tattle.

MRS FRAIL. O my soul, I'm afraid not--eh!--filthy creature, that smells all of pitch and tar. Devil take you, you confounded toad-- why did you see her before she was married?

MRS FORE. Nay, why did we let him--my husband will hang us. He'll think we brought 'em acquainted.

MRS FRAIL. Come, faith, let us be gone. If my brother Foresight should find us with them, he'd think so, sure enough.

MRS FORE. So he would--but then leaving them together is as bad: and he's such a sly devil, he'll never miss an opportunity.

MRS FRAIL. I don't care; I won't be seen in't.

MRS FORE. Well, if you should, Mr Tattle, you'll have a world to answer for; remember I wash my hands of it. I'm thoroughly innocent.